Kenroku-en, a true Japanese garden

Kenroku-en is a true Japanese garden established already in the XVIIth century in Kanazawa, Japan. It is one of the three oldest gardens in Japan. Its name translated into English means the Six Attributes Garden. Those six attributes of a perfect landscape are: spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, waterways, and panoramas. All of them are true for this place.

We spent there a nice Saturday morning. We tried to be exact at the opening hour at its gates so that we can make some photos in the morning light still before the garden crowds up. Indeed around noon it filled in with visitors, who in the vast majority were Japanese.



Up to that moment my only notion of a Japanese style of a garden was that it is full of trees not allowed to grow high and cut bonsai like. Later on during our stay in Japan we visited at least three other bigger gardens and also saw some small gardens surrounding tiny Japanese houses. Those small gardens were indeed full of bonsai cut trees. Being not a specialist in gardening I can only imagine that the trees are cut so just to fit into a small space.



The Kenroku-en is however a very spacious garden. Trees are cut, but it is more to give them a shape and remove dry branches but for sure not to keep them small. Old trees were supported with huge wooden poles (compare pictures). During our stay in Japan we saw many times this technique utilised to support trees, usually pines. However, many other trees in Kenroku-en seemed to be left as they are.



But cutting was not the only thing that was artificial about this place. The grounds were covered with moss, hundreds of square meters of moss with no blade of grass. As at some other places we already saw people kneeing on the moss and disrooting grass so we did not wonder about this. But keeping in mind that in Europe we do this the other way round cutting out moss out of grass … Nevertheless, the fields of moss looked very impressive. There were at least three lakes in the garden and many waterways crossing it about, filled with smaller and bigger stones. Of flowers interesting to me were irises, basically fields of irises, growing direct in water. Besides, there were no other flowers in the garden.


Bushes with colourfull leaves and blossom provided the landscape for other colours mainly pink or red. All walkways were plastered with small stones and sometimes fenced with bamboo poles.

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